Seven leading Hindi entertainment channels, over 40 new shows spread over the next few months. There’s ample to choose from: dance reality shows, daily soaps, singing contests and talent hunts.
Akash Chawla, Zee TV, points out that every month the channel will offer something new. Talk about competition and he argues, “If plenty of new shows come on air, almost together, it’s a test for the channels to figure out where their content actually stands.”
Deepak Dhar of Endemol adds that producers and channels need to be extremely cautious with their shows. “One has to exercise control and quality checks, more so when you have everyone getting into a particular genre,” he advises.
The question that most industry analysts are asking is” Why over the last three years have Hindi general entertainment channels waited for the 45-day-long IPL cricket tournament to end before launching their shows or bringing in new twists in long-running soaps.
An industry insider who didn’t wish to be named, says that initially, most channels had surrendered to the game’s monopoly over TV buffs, some even without a fight. “Even though viewers are not the same for both, few have the courage to risk their big-ticket shows during IPL. Barring channels like Zee TV and Colors to an extent, everyone else saves up for later.”
He adds that the trend in the US is exactly the opposite. During the Superball series, the general entertainment channels continue to bring in fresh content. According to industry figures, Zee TV has consistently grown in terms of ratings during the soon to conclude cricket league.
It opened its voting lines for Dance India Dance, launched one of its biggest soaps, Do Saheliyaan, a few days before the series started and has ensured that most of its shows went with their high points right through the 45-day window. Chawla says that Zee’s Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo was launched in the middle of the IPL Season 2. Today, it is one of the best-rated shows on the channel.
“We’re not afraid of IPL. We prefer to take a property like that head-on. We get good ratings for our popular shows even during the month-and-a-half duration of IPL. But I can’t say the same for other channels. If you are confident of your show, put it out,” he asserts.
Danish Khan of Sony is more cautious and says that his channel prefers to wait for the IPL to be over since it is aired on their sister channel, Set Max.“We have used the IPL matches to promote content that’s coming up on our channel. Dus Ka Dum that came after IPL Season 1 was a huge hit. After the second season, we launched a bunch of shows that added to our GRPs last year. We start with Indian Idol 5 on Monday,” he informs.
Nikhil Madhok of Imagine points out that launching shows in the middle of the IPL, reduces its chances of succeeding. This was evident with Kya Aap Panchvi Paas Se Tez Hain on Star Plus that came in the middle of the IPL Season 1. Ashwini Yardi of Colors states that most channels on an average register a dip of 10 per cent.
“The viewer profiles and shows differ from channel to channel. This year, we launched IPL Rockstar with IPL. Last year, it was Bhagyavidhata. The latter has picked up well,” she reasons. “Our timelines will not depend on when the IPL starts and ends.”
...And the 45 shows are
Chak Dhoom Dhoom
Starting next weekend, this kiddie dance competition is expected to last 16 weeks. Child comedian Saloni Daini and Bigg Boss 3 finalist, Pravesh Rana, turn hosts. Choreographers Saroj Khan and Ahmed Khan will be the judges along with Vindu Dara Singh. Choreographers Bosco and Ceaser are the mentors. The finalists have been chosen.
Thoda Hai Thode Ki Zaroorat Hai
This will be a noon show. It was earlier expected to start in March but was delayed. A slot has yet to be alloted. The show is about a middle-class family residing in the Shivaji Park area, the heart of Dadar, Mumbai.
Bigg Boss 4
The channel made a huge profit last year. The fourth season of the reality show is expected to flag off with bigger names. Amitabh Bachchan may continue as the pop philosopher-host.
Khatron Ke Khiladi 3
Level 2 was dangerous and the stunts far from appealing. The contestants went back with broken limbs but a braver heart. This time around, the challenges will get tougher because it’s cricketers who will conquer their fears with some help from Priyanka Chopra.
India’s Got Talent
The talent hunt contest returns with Season Two. The multi-city auditions are yet to begin. But the teaser campaigns are already on air, inviting talent from across the country. The judges, Shekhar Kapur, Kirron Kher and Sonali Bendre may change.
OLD BOTTLE, NEW WINE
Oops! This might spoil the fun for you. But here are a few highpoints that you can expect in the coming weeks. And no, this is not a late-in-the-day April Fool’s joke!
Balika Vadhu (Colors): Will go hrough a eight year leap. Anandi (currently played by Avika Gor) will become a woman. Auditions are on for a grown-up Anandi who will be in her 20s.
In Bairi Piya (Colors): Amoli will reportedly come face-to-face with the Thakur’s (Sharad Kelkar) twin brother.
Jhansi ki Rani (currently Ulka Gupta) (Zee TV): Will grow up. The actress expected to play the part has almost been finalised. Watch this space for more.
Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Kijo (Zee TV): Laali will pretend to be a ghost to catch her brother-in-law and her husband’s first wife as they conspire to spirit away her mother in law.
Na Aana Iss Des Laado (Colors): Ammaji’s (Meghna Mallik) reputation will be challenged by the dacoit, Amba (Shikha Singh). She’s apparently Ammaji’s long-lost relative.
Godh bharayi (Sony): Aastha (Pallavi Subhash) might soon be holding her own child.
Laagi Tujhse lagan (Colors): Dutta bhau (... ) will finally get married. Buzz is that he will marry Nakusha (Mahi Vij)instead of Supriya (Riddhi Dogra).
Pratigya (Star Plus): Pratigya (Pooja Kaul) will go through the traumatic experience of marital rape.
Sapna Babul Ka Bidaai (Star Plus): All’s well at home. Ragini and Sadhana (Parul Chauhan and Sara Khan) are friends again. One gets pregnant.
Bhagyvidhata (Colors): Bindiya (Richa Soni) will reconcile with her husband.